This book contains the Proceedings of the 14th Ramiran International Conference: “Treatment and Use of organic residues in agriculture: Challenges and opportunities towards sustainable management”.
The conference was held in Lisboa, Portugal, from 13 to 15th September 2010. It was organized by the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, of the Technical University of Lisbon.
The conference started with a plenary lecture by Filipe Duarte-Santos, with a general overview about the challenges and opportunities arising from the organic residues issues. This plenary lecture focused the conference subject. This conference had 64 oral presentations and, for the first time, two parallel sessions were held during a Ramiran Conference. During the conference a meeting of the task groups, formed by regular members of the Ramiran network, was held to discuss and present the results obtained during the last two years of activity. The conference ended with a round table discussion with the session chairs summarizing the main issues, achievements and conclusions of the event.
More that 200 posters were displayed in large poster sessions, to allow the participants to exchange ideas and information. It is worth highlighting the strong participation of students, ensuring that research continues to thrive within Ramiran. For the first time in the history of Ramiran conferences, there was a global participation of scientists and technicians,from more than 40 different countries. This is a clear sign of the importance of these conferences and highlights the leading position of Ramiran in the field of organic residues management. The doors are open to the growth of the network..
This book contains information on the latest technologies and techniques applicable to a sustainable management of organic residues in agriculture. The oral sessions were organized in large themes which included all the 14 subjects proposed for this meeting of Ramiran. The 14th Ramiran conference aimed to cover all the subjects related and influencing the problem of the organic residues. This started with the management of livestock diets, water and production technologies which determine the quality and amounts of residues produced. The different technologies and treatments used to transform organic residues in order to allow their use as soil amendments in agriculture, but also as sources of bioenergy, were widely discussed during the sessions. The application of organic residues to agricultural and degraded soils, as well as the associated losses and the observation of sanitary aspects related to the practice were also widely discussed themes. Finally, new discussions about the global management of organic residues as well as the economic and legislative aspects of this practice were introduced as subjects to close the cycle of knowledge. Across all of these topics, there will be peculiarities to individual countries, depending on climates and soil conditions etc., so a session where the main aspects which have to be taken into consideration in non-European countries was held with presentations by representatives of the other continents.
The "Recycling Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial Residues in Agriculture Network (RAMIRAN)" is a research and expertise network dealing with environmental issues relating to the use of manure and other organic residues in agriculture. It is organized within the framework of the FAO ESCORENA: European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (http://www.escorena.net/), which was established in 1974 as a means to promote voluntary research cooperation among interested national institutions involved in food or agriculture in European countries.
RAMIRAN evolved in 1996 from the much smaller Animal Waste Network, that had been active since 1978, and the scope was expanded to include many other organic residues (industrial and municipal) which are used on land as organic manures and soil amendments. It is in principal a European network, but also open to interested experts from other parts of the world. It has no official members, but about 400 people from over 30 countries are registered in its participation list.
The network provides an invaluable means of exchanging ideas, information and experiences on topics that are becoming increasingly important at a national and international level. The main objectives of the network are to:
The main activity of RAMIRAN is a scientific conference organized every two years, usually attended by about 100-150 participants. In the past, RAMIRAN also hosted a number of working groups dealing with more specific topics such as sanitary aspects, gaseous emissions or heavy metals in agriculture. In 2003 a special working group first produced a "Glossary of Terms on Livestock Manure Management" which proved very valuable in harmonizing the use of terms relevant to organic residues and their environmental relevance. Today the focus is on task groups, short-term teams with a clear task that can be achieved in a defined time of ideally 1-2 years and maximum four years. These tasks make use of the potential of RAMIRAN arising from its membership of experts. This means that, for example, surveys about management techniques, environmental, economic or social issues in connection with manure and other organic residues or interdisciplinary studies are ideal topics for such special tasks.
Tom Misselbrook and Harald Menzi
(…) To the journalist António Manuel Esteves Henriques (deceased in 2009), author and promoter of the “The Portuguese Pavements Handbook”, our tribute and recognition of the importance of the reference work that left us.
(…) To Direcção Geral de Energia e Geologia, as editor, the provision of copies of the "The Portuguese Pavements Handbook", which were offered by the organization to all members of the Scientific Committee, and by the efforts taken to obtain the cover photo of this book.
"Aware of the carbon footprint generated during the days of the event and because sustainability is the key issue of the conference, we decided to introduce the good practice of doing the emissions offset .